What's Up Wednesday (21)

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, so we can check in with each other. To join, just check out Jaime Morrow or Erin Funk's blogs for the link widget and sign up!


Still ALLEGIANT. Yeah, nothing to see here. I'm in a reading funk, so everything is going slowly.


Still NaNo-ing, but I was somewhat distracted and also started writing a short story. We'll see how that plans out as I am notoriously bad at short stories. I am enjoying myself though since it's wintry and creepy.


The holiday spirit! And there's nothing like Disneyland to get me in the holiday spirit.


Well, I re-dyed my hair, so I'm less blond and more red-haired now. AND though it's ridiculously expensive, my friends and I gritted our teeth and decided to go to Disneyland.

It was SUPER FUN TIMES, especially because we were separately surprised to meet Thor.

Our first stop was to see the Treasures of Asgard exhibit. This featured weaponry of Asgardian guards and the Warriors Three, as well as the book about Dark Elves. Of course, we were most excited to see Loki's helmet (shackles and frost dagger too)!

So the above images were actually taken at night because in the morning, we were herded into the room with Loki's helmet and shut in. The lights went off and Odin spoke to us about the Bifrost and allowing humans to visit Asgard, and then there were flashing lights (aka the Bifrost) and then these doors opened to reveal Odin's Throne Room and THOR! He welcomed us to Asgard.

Then we were literally locked in that room to meet/greet/take pictures with him before we could leave. The Sister and I were like WHAT IS HAPPENING?! But it was super cute to see the kids interacting with him, and Thor was very in-character and had the Hemsworth-Thor accent down.

And then it was our turn, and Thor noticed the design on the Sister's shirt and asked what it was. It was Loki's helmet, and the Sister showed him my Loki key chain, and then Thor was like "...I see." Needless to say, he was not thrilled, but it was funny and he kept asking us questions before concluding that we had been "befuddled by [my] brother's magic and mischief."
"I see we have some admirers of my brother's here." Yes, Thor.  Yes, you do.
I tried to assuage him by saying we love him too (we do...we're just in Loki's army, sorry bro), and then he asked us what kind of picture we wanted and suggested we do this:

Yep, we are so fierce. Thor kept insisting we be fiercer like shield maidens of Asgard...or something?
Our friends, who had gone in to see Thor 2 groups ahead of us told us they were just as surprised by the meet & greet. So surprised in fact that they said "Oh sh*t, it's Thor" loud enough to make the people around them laugh. After we left Asgard, we went to see the Stark Industries IRON MAN Hall of Armor.

The rest of the day was more along the lines of regular fun Disney stuff.

Mad Tea Party: No spinning!
The Haunted Mansion decked out Nightmare Before Christmas style!
The Sister loves the wreath monster.
I was the rebel spy! Apparently, I look super shady. At least, I did in the pic that droid took.

And finally, this doesn't have to do with me, but it's almost time for one of my favorite annual blogfests: the YA Superlatives blogfest! For more info, click on the banner below. I hope you all will participate! That said, I need to get reading!!!

What's up with you?

P.S. We're probably not going to blog on Friday since it is the day after Thanksgiving. To all our U.S. friends, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! To everyone else, happy weekend!


Happy Loki Friday

I was going to blog constructively about things like writing (hit that 50,000 wordgoal a few days back and have been nagging Krispy to keep on nanoing, and she has been, I'm so proud of her I could burst into a cloud of glitter and unicorns) or TV (been watching a lot of shows lately like Almost Human, Elementary, Dracula, Sleepy Hollow, Supernatural, and Legend of Korra) or reading (except I've been stuck on Crown of Midnight for weeks because urrrrrrgh the fanfic and the clichees are keelhauling me) but then it got to be late and hey Loki is adorbs so whee!  Have video of the Lokster.

Here he is approximately five days ago with a new rope toy.  Note the stylish Star Wars collar:

As you can see, Loki was having a grand old time with his new toy.  Observe his red toy as well there, that weird wishbone-shaped nubby thing that is made of rocklike plastic and is all munched up from his gnawing.  Loki is what they term an "aggressive chewer".  What this means is that if you were stuck in prison, you'd want Loki with you because he could chew through the bars and you'd be free.  Loki laughs in the face of toys that claim they are "virtually indestructible" because Virtual is his middle name and Obliterator is his last.

Here he is approximately 20 minutes later:

Loki is not only the God of Mischief, he's also the God of Destruction and the God of Really Huge White Sharp Teeth.

Happy Friday, folks!  Do you often destroy what you love?  This includes things like eating dessert.  What's your favorite dessert?  'Cause clearly as I'm typing this right now, I'm suddenly really hungry.  I will not, however, be chewing on or eating a rope.  Have a good weekend!


What's Up Wednesday (20)

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, so we can check in with each other. To join, just check out Jaime Morrow or Erin Funk's blogs for the link widget and sign up!


ALLEGIANT! I didn't make it for YA Book Club (which you might want to check out if you HAVE read Allegiant), but at least I finally finished All Our Yesterdays! Despite how long it took me to read, it was good! The time travel was interesting, but beyond that I liked seeing the difference and lingering similarities between Em and Marina.


Still NaNo-ing! Very, very behind but I'm happy that I'm writing pretty much every day. Woohoo!


Last week, the Make a Wish foundation and San Francisco turned the city into Gotham for a day so that 5-year-old Miles could be a super hero for a day. BatKid went around the city fighting crime and saving people in a Batmobile. People turned up to cheer him on, and the SF Chronicle even printed a special edition of the paper for it.

Seeing the pictures and tweets all day was so incredible and inspiring!

If you missed it, here's a good round-up of the day: Everything You Need to Know About...Crime-fighting Batkid.


It was Alz's birthday last week, and we got her sprinkle donuts. Alz is birthday twins with one of our other friends. So there was celebrations for that too. We went out to eat and then, of course, there was karaoke.

[Photo/ Gennia]
But prior to karaoke, there was an amazing prank that was played. Our dear friend Luce is easily scared, and so this scenario was too good to pass up. Enjoy. (Video from Gennia)

Then, as we drove home from karaoke, the Sister won advanced screening tickets to see THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE!

So, on Monday night we got to see Catching Fire at the same time as it was being shown at the red carpet premiere. They let us into the theater an hour before the screening and live-streamed the red carpet premiere to us. They made us check our phones before we entered, so the Sister and I were both hungry and unable to tell time, haha. Then at 7:30p, we got to see the movie!

They had a mini red carpet set up for us & took our photo.
Outside the theater, they had a mini red carpet, a bunch of the Subway Catching Fire Victor stand-ups around, and a photo booth. They also gave us a movie poster and Subway CF cups.

Our photo booth picture: can you spot the Peeta-pocket? The Sister accidentally blocked him.

Now, I had a lot to say about the 1st Hunger Games movie- pros and cons. And while I liked THE HUNGER GAMES, I didn't love it.

But THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE movie? Loved it! It basically fixed my biggest issues with the first movie - like shaky cam! No more shaky camera! And the fashion! There's actual, gorgeous, outrageous fashion. And FINNICK ODAIR.

Rocked the Mockingjay pin I got from Scholastic back when Mockingjay was released.
I also loved Johanna. So, in short, if you liked the first, I think you'll like the second. I'm so happy about this too because Catching Fire is my favorite HG book. The Sister liked this movie better than the first too! So good.

The Sister used her HG purse: Mockingjay emblem & loaf of bread sewed on by Alz.
The Sister also wore her bread socks in honor of Peeta.

And that's what we've been up to! Can't wait for you all to see Catching Fire later this week! Then let's chat about it.

What's up with you?


Randomosity on Fridays: Happy Birthday, Alz!!

Today's post is short because yesterday was Alz's birthday!


She's one of my oldest and best friends, and she's a brilliant writer. And she really likes these white rainbow sprinkled donuts.

Aaaand foxes. She really likes foxes too.

Oh, and if you've read Allegiant or are reading it, Tracey's YA Book Club for Allegiant is happening on Monday. I'll be trying to finish reading it this weekend so I can participate, so you might see a review here on Monday!

Happy weekend, everyone! And please wish Alz a happy birthday! :)


What's Up Wednesday (19)

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, so we can check in with each other. To join, just check out Jaime Morrow or Erin Funk's blogs for the link widget and sign up!


ALL OUR YESTERDAYS. I know, I know! It's taking me forever, and it's not because the book isn't good. It is! I'm quite enjoying it, but it is also NaNoWriMo and I have ALL THE MOVIES and ALL THE BIRTHDAYS to attend to as well. I'm nearly there though!

Plus, it's getting to that time in the year when I start reading picture books in an attempt to catch up to my yearly reading goal. I'm currently 5 books behind. :(

I'm also re-reading HAMLET, which of all the Shakespearean plays I've read (which admittedly is not that many), it is my favorite. I think I like it even better now. It's so beautiful and DRAMATIC. Hamlet, you melodramatic diva, I love you. Though I could do with a little less misogyny. :P


NaNo story and it is SLOW GOING. I am no less excited about the idea, but obviously getting the idea to look anything like it's supposed to is frustrating. I know it's about quantity and not quality, but oh it pains me. Also, I'm just a slow writer. The sprints thing, it just makes me nervous - in the bad, overly tense way. But the good thing is I am at least writing EVERY DAY*, so yay for forming good habits.

The Lokis are my writing partners. Mostly, they judge my sad word count.


Everyone else's amazing word counts and all the energy and encouragement I see every day on Twitter from the community. I also had a very fun group texting session with Lola and Sarah this weekend that was inspiring in its own way. I mostly talked about taking Loki to the vet, haha, but Lola and Sarah had good writerly conversation!


As I mentioned above, we took Loki to the vet, but it's nothing serious! He just needed his yearly shots and it turns out he has allergies that make his ears itchy. So we have allergy meds for that.

We also got him a hat for no reason other than that it's cute. He didn't like it.

Like his namesake, Loki is good at making annoyed faces.

Aaaand we saw THOR: THE DARK WORLD and loved it! I'm actually not sure if I liked it more than the first (I know, weird opinion - but I thought there was more weight to some of the emotional character moments in the first), but it was a lot of fun and funny. As with the first movie, I appreciated having the Female Gaze represented in the movie rather than the usual Male Gaze.

And speaking to that, during the quiet scene where Thor is shirtless, this lady in the audience said into the silence "Wow." It was especially perfect because you could tell it wasn't done on purpose to be funny or obnoxious. It sounded like she just couldn't contain herself. Priceless.

For the occasion, the Sister and I wore appropriate attire.

[And yes, that is what my hair looks like now with all the pink & red faded out. It's a nice ombre, and I haven't even done anything to it since July!]

It goes without saying, NOT ENOUGH LOKI. He was fantastic and when he was having fun, so were the rest of us.

I mean, the Sister wrote up 10 Reasons why THOR: THE DARK WORLD is really THE LOKI SHOW.

And thanks to the Loki Show, more people are discovering the utter talent and delight that is Tom Hiddleston. Oh darlings, let me welcome you to the party. ;)

Lastly, if you guys are willing, please vote for our puppy Loki in this pet photo contest! Here's the info

Directions: Enjoy the slideshow (linked below) and then send us an e-mail at templecityanimalhospital [at] gmail [dot] com telling us which pet you're voting for. Please put "Contest" in the Subject Line, and please include "Loki says 'Hi'."

Furry Friend photo slide show

Thanks friends! What's up with you?

*Every day...if you don't count that I miss a day here and there. Like I missed writing to see Thor.



By the time you read this, Krispy and the Sister and our friend and I will have seen Thor: The Dark World.  We are excited.  We love the Loki.  Everybody loves Loki.

Speaking of which, Krispy told me how she read that dogs basically stop paying as much attention to you if you talk to them too much, i.e. they might ignore you when you call them because they're too used to the sound of your voice and tune you out.  Possibly this is why our Loki goes charging off willy-nilly into the forbidden recesses of the back yard to scarf down fallen avocados regardless of how we yell, "LOKI NO LOKI GET BACK HERE LOKI OUT LOKI!!!"

Doubtless what he hears is, "LOKI EAT MOAR AVOCADOS 4EVR LOKI!!1"

Perhaps if Thor had spoken to Loki more nicely and specifically instead of interrupting him half the time and ignoring him the other half, Loki wouldn't have metaphorically run into the backyard toward that avocado tree.

Anyway, let's celebrate Thor 2 and the various Lokis in our lives with gratuitous dog!Loki picspam!  Hooray!

"I don't know if I like this. Mommy, what are we doing?"
An elusive horned-and caped Loki captured by the equally elusive Finn-the-Human-hoodied Alz.
We were all sad that this Star Wars dog sweater was too small for
Loki's massive and muscular masculine chest.

"I know you see this thing over my eye. It will bother you
forever because its position has now been photographically immortalized."
Look at them pearly chompers.

Lifeguard Loki on duty!
They are the best of friends, Loki and Sadie. Srsly.
They only look like they're trying to kill each other,
but it's all in good fun.
When we went out to eat in a big group with friends
at a place that had butcher paper covering the tables,
I drew all our canine companions.
Also, Krispy's Sister thoughtfully points out that 99% of Thor 2's promotion seems to revolve around someone other than the titular character here: 10 Reasons Why 'Thor: The Dark World' is Really the Loki Show.

Here's to having an awesome weekend!  November's a good month cinematically speaking, what with The Return of Loki Thor: The Dark World, Ender's Game, The Book Thief, Catching Fire, and no doubt more titles that I'm forgetting.  Got any movies you're excited about?


What's Up Wednesday (18)

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, so we can check in with each other. To join, just check out Jaime Morrow or Erin Funk's blogs for the link widget and sign up!


Still reading ALL OUR YESTERDAYS. I think I maybe burnt myself out on reading, so right now I've slowed. The book is good though! I'm just tired. :P I hope to get to ALLEGIANT, FANGIRL, JUST ONE YEAR, and VICIOUS soon. Must get all the books in before the YA Superlatives Blogfest in December...


My NaNoWriMo project, which is old and new! I combined an old story I couldn't quite get off the ground (a former NaNo project if you will and mixed it with a new idea, which makes me really excited about all of it again. There's going to be magic and mayhem and I LOVE IT.

I'm actually waaaay behind in word count, BUT other than missing the first day, I have written at least a little each day. So it's been good for me in terms of discipline. Also, YA author Victoria Schwab's calendar trick has helped a lot since I guess I still really love stickers. That and I grew up being an academic over-achiever, so if I need to be earning stickers, there is something hardwired in me that makes me WANT THE STICKERS. It's only as an adult that I became a slacker. Schneizeleffort (haven't heard that in a while)!


Victoria Schwab's calendar trick! STICKERS!

What's the calendar trick exactly? Here's a handy-dandy video she made explaining it:


Other than NaNo-ing? Not much. I am, however, preparing for the deluge of November birthdays to come. Some have already happened, but there's some more (including the birthday of one Alz)!

We also saw Ender's Game, which was a decent book adaptation and fun. The Battle Room and Command Simulations were spectacular, and it was so cool to see that aspect of the books brought to life. Plus, the kids cast were great (e.g. Ender is played by Asa Butterfield from HUGO and BBC's Merlin if you watched that), and one of the best lines the character Bean utters is "Your mom's a cheat. That's why you look like the plumber."

We cannot wait to see THOR: THE DARK WORLD later this week! MORE LOKI. MORE BROTHERLY SNARKING!

Oh and here are our Halloween pics from the Sister!

I was Medusa with 12 snakes in my hair that I painted! I'll have to take a nicer pic of the snakes later. The Sister was a Lady Thor. She made her costume - bought a black dress, sewed some circles.

Loki got dressed up too...as HIMSELF! Or rather his Asgardian namesake. The Sister made the jacket for him a few months ago, but she made the horns for him for Halloween.

Q4U: What's up with you?

P.S. If you missed it last Friday, you should definitely check out Alz's TRUE tale of QUAIL MURDER!


Murder, the Buttonquail Wrote

I warn you: This is a tale of misdeed and mystery, mischief and murder, and possibly cannibalism.  It is not for the faint of heart or those who love small cute Disney-looking birds.  It is a true story, one that occurred over the course of several weeks this very year.

Once upon a time, Alz's dad liked to keep buttonquail.  They are petite little birds that look like something right out of Disney's Bambi.

Not quite buttonquail.

This is a buttonquail.
They're tiny cute little buggers.  They could sit in the palm of your hand, though my dad's certainly didn't.  My dad has kept buttonquail before, though they inevitably succumbed to illness or rats or UFOs since they sometimes seemed to vanish right out of the cage, never to be seen again.  He kept them in a large outdoor enclosure with doves roosting overhead--the birds all get along fine by ignoring each other, though the buttonquail have to suffer the occasional indignity of being pooped upon.

It is an idyllic picture, the doves cooing gently to each other on their perches above while the wee buttonquail bob and hop about down below.  There was a male and his harem of four females, since they are social creatures and need a little company in life.  Everything seemed fine and dandy until one day--


The doves were all there, indifferent and perhaps even ignorant of the gruesome scene below.  Quail are beneath them in more ways than one, after all.  The male buttonquail and three of the females were scuttling about as usual.

But the fourth female was a  sight: she lay amid the drying smears of her own blood and gore, eyes glazed in death, and her rear end chewed out.  Her insides had, apparently, been partially eaten by something.

I warned you it was not for the faint of heart.

My dad was, of course, shocked and dismayed by the unexpected and brutal demise of this poor little quail.  He had learned from the quail seller that the males are sometimes little bastards overly aggressive and express dominance over the females by pecking them, even to the point of killing them.  My mom thought it must have been the work of a rat that sneaked its way past the traps and through the cage-mesh and into the enclosure.

To protect the remaining four quail, my dad put them in a smaller cage inside the big enclosure. Everything seemed fine until the next day when--


Inside the cage within a cage, there were the male and three females--two alive and one dead, murdered in the same savage manner as the first.  Further, the male seemed to be picking on the newer (and smallest) female, so my dad put him in jail to separate him from the females.  My dad was understandably pissed at the male.

After three days, my dad finally relented and put the quail back together again.  And then--


Or nearly, at any rate.  My dad found the new small female barely alive, with its rear end pecked and bloodied.  The male was in the cage, calm and collected as usual.  The other female, the biggest and oldest hen, was there too.

With blood on her beak and chest feathers.

And so the buttonquail male had been falsely accused all along!  Buttonquail hens in the wild expel rival females from their territory, so undoubtedly the big female had had enough of these other little nuisances dancing around her man!  Oh, the humanity!  Er, buttonquaility!

And so life went on for a few days.  Maybe it was even a week or two.  The female at last had the male all to herself.  But you know this isn't the end.  You know what's coming.


One day not long after the last cannibalistic hen murder, my dad found the last buttonquail hen dead on the floor of the enclosure.  Pecked to death, it seemed, though not eaten in the manner of the previous hens.

And there was the male nearby.



Pitter-pattering about like normal.

There were no witnesses but the doves, who are notoriously unreliable and uninterested in the affairs of quail.  A serial killing psychopath knows when to frame those around him for the murders he committed, and knows when to bide his time until suspicion has died down and surveillance gone lax.  Ah, say you, but the last victim was not eaten the way the others were!  Ah, say I, it was because my dad walked in on the crime in progress--too late to witness the actual act, but in time to cut off the male's grisly cannibalistic ritual.

This was five months ago.  The serial killing cannibal buttonquail has been alone at the bottom of the enclosure all this time.  Perhaps this is what he wanted.  Perhaps he craved solitude and the company of his own kind drove him insane.  Perhaps, in a fit of rage, he killed the first female, and then acquired a taste (both literal and figurative) for blood.

And then, this month, my dad bought three new female buttonquail and put them in the enclosure.  Only time will tell if the male resumes his murderous ways, and likely only doves will be witness to the festival of his madness, should they ever cast their eyes to the carnage down below....

Happy Halloween, everyone!